Bad image error: file is not designed to run on Windows

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Last update:
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  • The bad image error arises due to inaccessible DLL files, which can get corrupted or go missing for various reasons.
  • Users can fix the Bad Image error in Windows 10 with some of that platform’s system maintenance tools.
  • There is also third-party software that can resolve the Bad Image issue.
  • The bad image error in Windows 7, 8, and 10 can be fixed by finding replacement DLL files.
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DLL errors are not uncommon on Windows platforms. The DLL error messages usually pop up because a Dynamic Link Library file has gone missing or is corrupted.

The above error message highlights there’s an issue with the DLL file specified in it.

The error message above can specify many different DLL files. Users can’t run and utilize software the Bad Image DLL error arises for.

To resolve the issue using maintenance software can help, but there are other options described below.

How can I fix the Bad image error?

1. Fix the issue with system maintenance software

Some third-party system maintenance software might fix the Bad Image DLL issue.

There are different forms of system maintenance software, but some include repair tools that can fix a wide variety of PC issues.

A system repair utility that can repair corrupted DLLs will likely resolve the Bad Image error.

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Restoro is a reliable third-party DLL fixer which uses a built-in automated system and an online library full of functional DLLs to replace and repair any files that might be corrupted or damaged on your PC. All you need to do to resolve your PC’s problems is to launch it, and simply follow the on-screen instructions to start the process, as everything else is covered by the software’s automated processes. This is how you can fix registry errors using Restoro:
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2. Run a System File Checker scan

  1. Press the Windows and S keys at the same time to open the Type here to search utility.
  2. Input the keyword Command Prompt in the search box.
  3. Click Run as administrator for Command Prompt on the right of the search utility in Windows 10.
  4. First, type this command in the Prompt’s window and hit Enter: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  5. When the Deployment Image Servicing scan is complete, type in this SFC command: sfc /scannow
  6. Press the Enter key to start the system file scan.
    The sfc command bad image error
  7. Wait for the scan to reach 100 percent verification.
  8. Then restart your desktop or laptop if the scan reports that Windows Resource Protection fixed system files.

3. Uninstall recent Windows updates

  1. Press the Windows and I hotkey for the Settings app.
  2. Click Update & Security to open the Check for updates button.
    The Check for updates option bad image error
  3. Select the View update history button.
  4. Then click Uninstall updates to open the Control Panel window shown directly below.
    Installed Updates window bad image error
  5. Select the most recently installed patch update.
  6. Click Uninstall to remove it.
  7. To forestall the deleted patch update reinstalling, check out Microsoft’s Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter. Our How to block Windows driver updates guide provides further details for that utility.

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Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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Run a PC Scan with Restoro Repair Tool to find errors causing security problems and slowdowns. After the scan is complete, the repair process will replace damaged files with fresh Windows files and components.

Note: This resolution is for fixing the Bad Image error when it arises after recent Windows updates. If the Bad Image DLL issue arises when your PC has just received updates, then a defective update might be the culprit.


4. Reinstall software the Bad Image error arises for

  1. First, launch the Run accessory with the Windows + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Click the OK button after entering this Run command: appwiz.cpl
  3. Next, select the software the Bad Image error occurs for within the Programs and Features window.
    The Programs and Features applet bad image error
  4. Click the Uninstall option (and Yes on confirmation prompts).
  5. Restart your PC when you’ve removed the software.
  6. Then reinstall the software with its installation media, or download the installer for its latest version from the publisher’s website.

You can uninstall software and more thoroughly remove leftovers with third-party uninstaller utilities.

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5. Roll back Windows

  1. Open the Run accessory window.
  2. Input this run command for System Restore in the Open box: rstrui
  3. Click OK to launch System Restore.
  4. Select the Choose a different restore point option if there’s a recommended restore point.
  5. Select the Next option to continue.
  6. To see a full list of restore points, click the Show more restore points check box.
    The System Restore window bad image error
  7. Now choose a restore point that predates the Bad Image issue on your PC. If you’re not sure what date to choose, select the oldest restore point you can.
  8. Press the Next button to proceed to restore point confirmation.
  9. Click Finish to confirm your selected restore point and initiate the Windows restoration process.

Note: Rolling back Windows deletes software installed after selected restore point dates. To check what software gets deleted for a restore point, click the Scan for affected programs button.


6. Copy the specified DLL from another PC

  1. Turn on a PC that shares the same Windows platform and 64 or 32-bit system architecture as the one you need to fix the Bad Image error on.
  2. Open the search tool in Windows.
  3. Type in the exact filename of the DLL specified within the Bad Image error message.
  4. Then right-click the DLL file found and select Open File location.
    The System 32 folder bad image error
  5. Right-click the DLL specified within the Bad Image error and select Copy.
  6. Insert a flash drive into a USB slot on the PC.
  7. Open a folder on the flash drive within File Explorer. Press the Ctrl + V hotkey to copy the DLL file onto the USB stick.
  8. Then boot up the PC you need to fix the Bad Image error on.
  9. Insert the flash drive that includes the copied DLL file.
  10. Select the DLL file on your USB drive within File Explorer.
  11. Press the Move to button on the Home tab. 
    The Move to button bad image error
  12. Click Choose location on the menu to open a Move Items window.
    Move Items window bad image error
  13. Then select to move the DLL file to one of these folders:
    C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ (for 32-bit DLL files)
    C:\Windows\System32\ (for 64-bit DLL files)
  14. Click the Move option.
  15. If a Replace or Skip Files window opens, select the Replace the file in the destination option.
  16. To register the DLL, open the Command Prompt as an administrator (outlined within resolution two).
  17. Enter this command with a real DLL filename included and press Return: regsvr32 filename.dll

Note: You can also download DLL system files from DLL websites. However, make sure you download the DLL from a reputable source.

Scan any downloaded DLL with an antivirus utility. Back up the original DLL file before replacing it with an alternative.


The above resolutions will most likely fix the Bad Image DLL error for the majority of users. The last resort resolution is to reinstall or reset Windows.

Our Factory reset post tells you how to reset Windows 10. However, give the above resolutions a shot before trying the last resort fix.

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